Wed Feb 4 8 oc. PM [1942]

Brrrh what weather! Snow and sleet and rain. Jean has not been to school this week yet. Yesterday we had more depth of snow than before, this year. In the afternoon it turned to rain and for a time rained and froze everything into sheets of ice then thawed and made great pools of water everywhere as the ground was still too hard to absorb it even where it was not covered with ice. Father went to Louth on Mon. with Mr S[cott]. It was not too good going then, but got thro’ and back without mishap. Frank R[aynor] says that yesterday there were a great many cars in the dykes between Louth and Lincoln, indeed he said there were so many, there was not room for more. A little exaggeration I expect. He came for straw to bed the pigs with. One lot of soldiers gave Father a lot when they went away. It has been very useful. Frank said he had done no work, except on the O.P. [Observer Post] for three weeks, except 1½ days.

A new Dornier dropped 3 bombs at Sk[egness] on Monday dinner-time. Mr A was at dinner in the Café under the Pier where he always goes. The proprietress moved there when her café on Lumley Rd was bombed out before. He saw them drop. Expect poor Miss ——[Blanchard] will think they mean to get her. There were no casualties and small damage. Suppose the G[rammar] Sc[hool] children were watching the planes 2 Dors and a spitfire chasing them in and out of cloud when one boy said, “Look he’s dropping something”. The master yelled “Down” and down they all went on the floors. We are all pleased to know the spit. brought one of them down a little further north.

Mr A (on right) at Pier Café

Mr A (on right) at Violet Café, Skegness Pier. Cyril Capes (on left) and Inspector Ellis.

Rommel is still advancing in Libya and all our troops have retired from Malaya into Singapore. They have blown up part of the Causeway just like Gotham’s wise men who put a fence around the wood to keep the cuckoos in. Japs have already started to dive-bomb says Fra[nk] Ray[nor]. Amer. doing well in Philippines and Russians still advancing which heartens us up a little. Let’s hope the Japs spread out so far they cannot unite again.

Rene walked yesterday afternoon. Mr A did not go to business. She said to-day that it was very hard walking on her return on the wet ice, but some soldiers on a lorry gave her a cheer as she toiled up Belton’s hill. Bill did not come. She brought us a few small apples, they are very nice and a treat 9D lb. She did some of her washing on Monday and I had started of mine to-day when she came. We both have sheets to do some day but don’t want to wash them until they will dry outside as we neither of us have much Convenience. Shall put to-days wash round the sit-room fire when I go to bed – Let the kit. fire out as we burn enough coal these cold days. P[ercy] brought [coal] nuts today and they are very swift, it is a good thing we have a little in store. He says Ciss is getting up but weak, as she is on a diet of barley-water and such-like things, with no fat whatever, tho’ he said she was so hungry last night she ate some bread and butter instead of dry toast.

Had a letter from Ron yesterday, but it was written on Sat. Shall be pleased to hear how he got on at the week-end as it was so stormy. Mr Virgin [postman] had to walk round yesterday, Fr[ank] made him a cup of cocoa, he kindly brought me a dozen Eph. Tabs in the afternoon as I was out of them and it saved anyone going down. Father has a cold again, very seedy to-night, shall be pleased when he comes off at 2 am. as he can stay late in bed in the morning. It is not fit to do anything outside these days. Jean hopes to go to sch. but expect she will have to walk to bus’ as Father called out, when he went at 8 pm that it was freezing. There is a good bit of wind, hope it isn’t another bitter black frost.

Have finished the Greek Key pattern on my rug border. It is going to take a long time but will look nice I think when done. Jean is putting in an oblong of black and red in the middle so.

May's sketch of Greek Key Pattern

May's sketch of Greek Key Pattern

Don’t know how it will be filled in. Am filling G.K in with green. Our brown and grey gull nearly lives in the garden now. Jean went down on her knees when she went to feed them yesterday and Father skated wildly on the path but kept up, tho’ he went down another day. Rene says she went down in Sunningdale Drive and this morning Mr Hallg[arth] apologised for being late at the W.Bx but said the “points were wrong at Hall’s Corner and he fouled them” he had gone on his back and spilt his hot tea out of his can down his coat. Am afraid there will be some broken limbs. Jean’s birthday tomorrow.

Eva went to Peterboro’ on Monday. Wonder how she is getting on. Think she was lodging with friends at first. Expect H[arriet] will be wondering about her, am afraid she won’t rest very well as Frank [Harness] is ill with flu’ in Nottm. Jean is putting Snip. out, she slipped in when Father went. We are going to get a little snack and go to bed. Kettle boiling for bottles. Father generally fills ours afresh when he comes in at 2. Am taking aluminium one too tonight. Oh, dear! I keep blowing my nose tonight but haven’t got the old cold in my head.

‘OP’ was the abbreviation for Observer Post, manned by the ROC, situated to the west of Harness’s Wigg Lane Farm (see Village Map).

Miss Blanchard was the name of the proprietress of the Élite Café on Lumley Road and the Violet Café under the pier, both in Skegness. The bombing in the town on February 2nd 1942, when ‘two service girls were saved from almost certain death or injury by an Army NCO’, was described in ‘Skegness at War’, Marjorie C Wilkinson, Cupit Press, Horncastle 2007, p 12.

Allied forces had retreated from Malaya to Singapore via the connecting Johor-Singapore Causeway which they blew up on January 31st 1942, in an attempt to delay the Japanese invasion of Singapore (see 11 Jan. 1942).

Traditional tales had the wise men of Gotham, a village in Nottinghamshire, deliberately behaving foolishly. Explanations included attempting to convince representatives of King John that the villagers all suffered from insanity (believed to be contagious), in order to dissuade the king from using a road or building a hunting lodge nearby, which would have resulted in taxes and restrictions.

‘Belton’s hill’ was the slope, down over the outflow, from ‘The Point’ to the ‘New Road’. Cyril Belton’s garage was nearby.

Percy Ranson, husband of Will’s niece Ciss, was the coalman.

“Points were wrong” was a ‘figure of speech’ which alluded to railway points.

Have you read an introduction to May Hill & family (includes photographs) and explored ‘The Casualties Were Small’?
Leave a comment


  1. Well here we are on 5th February 2012 in Burgh le Marsh some 8 miles from Chapel St Leonards and I have spent over an hour clearing my drive-way of snow. We may be 70 years on from the diary but a heavy snowfall can still cause problems which can prevent modern cars from travelling into town, goodness only knows how it must have been in my grandfather’s time.

    Peter Hayes

  2. Our grandfather, Will, certainly was a real hero, setting off in all weathers including taking ‘local preachers’ to their Sunday destinations on the Methodist Circuit.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *